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Hi Fools,

I've been checking out the "long term buy and hold" brokers. I noticed there are not-so-obvious differences between at least two brokers that might be important.

An article at Fool.com, "DISCOUNT BROKER CENTER What other types of brokers are there?", states:
> To keep costs low, FOLIOfn, like ShareBuilder.com and BUYandHOLD.com,
> aggregates the orders of all its customers and makes its trades during two
> windows every day. If you want your trades executed right away, you pay an
> additional $14.95.

As far as I can tell, this is basically correct for BUYandHOLD.com and FOLIOfn. I discovered that Sharebuilder.com, however, makes trades once a week, and only on a Tuesday (unless you place a real time market order).

As they state on their web site:
> One-Time trades?  
>   You can make one-time purchases through the ShareBuilder Plan by
> channeling a lump sum of money into any of the ShareBuilder Stocks. This trade
> will have a transaction fee of $5 per trade ($1 per trade for custodial
> accounts). This will not be a Real-Time Trade. A one-time investment order is
> placed with other ShareBuilder programmed orders at a predetermined execution
> time.

This "predetermined execution time" is any Tuesday of the month you choose.
I also found out, much to my chagrin, that you can only sell your stock at
Sharebuilder.com by executing a Real Time market order (which costs 19.95)!

As far as I can tell, with BUYandHOLD you sell and buy at the same low price, and all orders are executed during two windows each day. So, if you place your order in the morning, you will get at least an afternoon window trade that same day (and probably a morning window trade, but I have not tested this out, anyone have experience with this?).

I am not making any kind of recommendation (in fact, I currently have A Sharebuilder.com IRA account). And, if you want to move your account to another brokerage there is no "exit" charge at Sharebuilder.com (or BUYandHOLD.com).

Basically, my thinking is I have only a little money to invest, and I am a beginner. I don't want to worry about hourly fluctuations of stocks, especially since almost no brokers will guarantee your market order will get executed at the time or price you want (at least, not with us small time investors). However, I do want to make orders on the day I choose.

I hope you found this useful,
Foolishly Yours,
ntphillips, a new Fool on the block
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